Rick McKay, Documentarian Behind 'Broadway: The Golden Age,' Dies at 57

Rick McKay - Getty - H 2018
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The Indiana native interviewed more than 300 theatrical legends for his comprehensive project, which included two planned sequels.

Rick McKay, the award-winning filmmaker best known for his definitive 2003 documentary Broadway: The Golden Age, has died. He was 57.

McKay was found dead on Jan. 29 in his apartment on New York's Upper West Side, his brother, Stephen McKay, told The Hollywood Reporter. The cause of death was unknown, but it "was a very peaceful passing," he said.

A native of Beech Grove, Indiana, Rick McKay began work on Broadway: The Golden Age, by the Legends Who Were There in 1998. He served as researcher, writer, interviewer, editor, director and producer, turning his cramped one-bedroom apartment into a studio.

For his project — designed to be the first of a trilogy of films — McKay interviewed more than 300 theatrical legends, including Bea Arthur, Carol Burnett, Carol Channing, Fred Ebb, Jerry Herman, Angela Lansbury, Shirley MacLaine, Hal Prince, Chita Rivera, Stephen Sondheim and Gwen Verdon.

Broadway: The Golden Age was released theatrically and then aired on PBS after winning 17 film festival awards.

McKay arrived in New York City in the early 1980s and worked as a cabaret singer and then a researcher for director Mike Nichols on The Birdcage (1996).

He also supplied footage and received a director's credit for the 2002 film Elaine Stritch at Liberty; shared Verdon and Michael Kidd video and transcripts with John Gilvey for his upcoming biography on Verdon; provided footage for his friend Barbara Cook's memorial in December; and created a film to celebrate composer Ervin Drake's 90th birthday.

McKay also produced City Arts and Egg for public television and the Biography series for A&E.

Survivors also include his sisters Linda, Sandy, Stacie and Hope.